Wappingers Central School District
School Reopening Plan
March 2, 2022
NYS DOH Revision
The mission of the Wappingers Central School District is to empower all of our students with the competencies and confidence to challenge themselves, to pursue their passions, and to realize their potential while growing as responsible members of their community.
Communication/Family and Community Engagement 2
Health and Safety 2
Mask Usage 2
When Are Masks Required? 3
Masking on Buses & Extracurricular Activities 3
Physical Distancing: 4
Personal Hygiene: 5
Visitor and Vendor Practices: 6
Health Offices 7
When Feeling Ill at School: 7
Other Protocols: 7
Contact Tracing 8
Weekly Staff Testing 9
Use of Over-the-Counter Tests 10
School Exclusion 10
The overall goal of the Wappingers School District for the 2021-2022 school year is to maximize in-person teaching and learning, be responsive to student needs, and keep students and staff healthy and safe. Our schools will be operating a normal school schedule for all students grades Pre K-12. In person learning is critical to the academic, social and emotional well being of our students.
This plan aligns with the guidance developed in collaboration with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) & the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). It is important to note that this plan is subject to change during the year as the District will continue to assess relative information shared with us by our state and local leaders / health organizations.
Communication/Family and Community Engagement
The District remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff, and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the District website at https://www.wappingersschools.org/ and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances.
As part of its planning for the continued operations of schools, the District has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners, and vendors. The District will use its Blackboard Connect Communications Platform, and the District website (www.wappingersschools.org) to disseminate relevant information to our Community.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families are our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. The District continues to work with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health to monitor and assess relevant local data within our region. The websites for each organization whose guidance was reviewed in the development of this plan are as follows: Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DCDBCH), the New York State Education Department (NYSED), and the New York State Department of Health.
Mandated Masking in the School setting ended on March 2, 2022 as per NYS. This updated guidance aligns with the new CDC Community Burden Framework which guides state and local jurisdictions on COVID-19 mitigation measures based on level of community burden:
- Counties are designated “Low” COVID-19 burden when there are fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous 7 days, there are fewer than 10 new admissions per 100,000 persons total over the previous 7 days, and less than 10% of all occupied inpatient hospital beds are occupied by someone with COVID-19.
- CDC guidance recommends masking for all individuals, including in schools, when a jurisdiction is at “High” community burden. Local health departments are strongly encouraged to implement universal masking when the county COVID-19 community burden is high.
When Are Masks Required?
Students, staff and teachers must wear masks on return to school during Days 6 – 10 of their isolation period (if they were a positive case). In addition, NYSDOH recommends students, staff and teachers wear masks when:
- They feel more comfortable wearing a mask for personal reasons.
- They were in the same room within the school as someone diagnosed with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer and were thus exposed or potentially exposed.
- They are known to have been exposed to COVID-19 in any setting within the previous 10 days.
- They are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised and have discussed the need to mask with their healthcare provider(s).
When wearing a mask; masks should be well-fitted and appropriately worn (to cover nose and mouth) and should conform to CDC guidelines for masks and respirators.
Masking on Buses & Extracurricular Activities
Masking is no longer required on district vehicles or during extracurricular activities. Individuals who are required to wear masks in school per the information above must still wear masks on district vehicles and when participating in extracurricular activities.
Masked and unmasked people will be working and learning alongside each other in schools. Therefore, we will establish “mask positive” environments so those who wear masks, whether by choice, expectation, or requirement, are not stigmatized, bullied, or made to feel uncomfortable, and likewise, those for whom masks have not been required or recommended are not stigmatized, bullied, or made to feel uncomfortable.
Pursuant to the Dignity For All Students Act, students have the right to a school environment free from harassment and bullying. Whenever persons are expected or required to wear masks, masks may be removed when eating, drinking, singing, going outside, or playing a wind instrument. When masks are removed for these purposes, physical distancing of 6 or more feet should be maintained to the extent possible.
NYS (and therefore the District) aligns with the CDC definition of close contact in schools. In the school setting, with universal masking, a close contact was generally defined as less than 3 feet from an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. The exception of allowing 3-feet of distance to determine exposure in schools does not apply to unmasked individuals, nor does it apply to teachers, staff, or other adults regardless of masking. This means that in settings where masks are not worn, anyone within a 6-foot radius of an infected person should be considered exposed, if said other has tested COVID positive. This “zone of exposure” does not mean schools should rearrange the physical footprint or space students six feet apart.
- Because of the importance of in-person learning, we will implement physical distancing to the greatest extent possible within our structures, but we cannot exclude students from in-person learning to keep a minimum distance requirement.
Wappingers CSD will ensure sufficient ventilation and fresh air to all spaces of occupancy by means of:
- Modifications to the Building Management Systems to allow fresh air dampers to introduce more outside air (outside temperatures may affect sustainability of this feature).
- Air handling systems have been inspected for function with higher MERV rated filters.
- Where applicable filters will be exchanged for MERV rating ranging from 11-13.
- Spaces where fresh air is limited due to original building systems, fresh air will be introduced through open windows and doors.
- Options for replacement and modification to existing systems will be explored.
- Engineers will design new systems capable of increased fresh air and filtration.
- Fan motors speeds will be increased where applicable to ensure volume and flow of 15cfm minimum.
- More frequent maintenance and inspection of the systems will occur to mitigate extra strain on systems.
- Filter replacement schedules will be more frequent.
In addition, the District will:
- Post signage throughout the buildings to remind personnel to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning/disinfecting protocols.
- Maintain a continuous log of attendance for every person, including students, faculty, staff, contractor, and visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals on our campuses.
- Where feasible, entry and egress in and out of all buildings will be limited to a single location. If applicable, a single point entry and single point egress will be identified to minimize cross traffic. All entry to the buildings will occur through the main entrance to a check-in point at the security station.
- Insist that staff and students remain home if they are not feeling well.
Hand washing - Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. Schools should plan time in the school day schedule to allow for hand hygiene.
- Signage encouraging hand washing and correct techniques;
- Traditional hand washing (with soap and warm water, lathering for a minimum of 20 seconds), which is the preferred method. This can be accomplished by singing or humming the happy birthday song twice;
- Adequate facilities and supplies for hand washing including soap and water;
- Use of paper towels or touch-free paper towel dispensers where feasible (hand dryers are not recommended as they can aerolize germs);
- Students and staff should wash hands as follows:
- Upon entering the building and classrooms;
- After sharing objects or surfaces;
- Before and after snacks and lunch;
- After using the restroom or after helping a student with toileting;
- After sneezing, wiping, or blowing nose or coughing into hands, or coming into contact with bodily fluid;
- Anytime hands are visibly soiled;
- After handling garbage;
- After playing outdoors;
- Before and after administering medication;
- When handwashing is not available use a hand sanitizer;
- Posters / signage describing handwashing steps will be installed near sinks
- Hand Sanitizer - At times when hand washing is not available students and staff may use a hand sanitizer. In order for the sanitizer to be effective it must contain a minimum of 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. It should be noted that sanitizers can be flammable and students must be monitored and supervised when using these.
Visitor and Vendor Practices:
Parents/guardians will report to the security desk and not go beyond unless they are permitted to do so. Essential visitors to facilities and parent/guardian visitors will have restricted access to our school buildings. In addition:
- Must sign in with their identification through the District’s Visitor Management System (VMS). The Districts VMS maintains daily logs of visitors in the database. The District will maintain these logs for purposes of contact tracing until the DCDBCH determines that COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our community.
- No vendor should enter a building unless necessary for completion of their job.
- All vendors must sign in and out at the main entrance of each building stating their destination at that building for contact tracing.
- Should a vendor become ill while on campus, they must alert a staff member to report the issue and then immediately seek medical attention.
When Feeling Ill at School:
Students and staff with symptoms of illness must be sent to the health office. A school nurse (Registered Professional Nurse, RN) is available to assess individuals as chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions may present the same symptoms as COVID-19 but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat. Proper PPE will be required anytime a nurse may be in contact with a potential COVID-19 patient.
- All students and staff are required to wear appropriate face coverings when in the health office. Disposable masks will be provided to anyone who does not have a mask prior to entering the health office so long as they can medically tolerate wearing one.
- N95 Respirator use for nurses should be limited to situations of suspected COVID-19
- Nurses must receive proper training and fitment of N95 Respirators prior to use.
- Where applicable, nurse stations have been reconfigured to:
- Maintain social distancing of no less than 6ft.
- Create “sick” and “well” zones.
- Students that receive daily medication will be treated separately from students presenting with symptoms of illness.
- Nebulizer treatments should be conducted in a separate isolated space with adequate fresh air circulation.
- Respiratory treatments administered by nurses generally result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions. These aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) potentially put healthcare personnel and others at an increased risk for pathogen exposure and infection. The CDC recommends PPE use when administering AGPs. PPE consists of:
- N95 or surgical facemask;
- In lieu of N95 - a surgical mask with face shield;
- Eye protection; and
- A gown (if necessary).
- PPE should be used when:
- Administering nebulizer treatments; or
- Using peak flow meters with students who have respiratory conditions.
- Treatments such as nebulized medication treatments and oral or tracheostomy suctioning should be conducted in a room separate from others with nursing personnel wearing appropriate PPE. For nebulizer treatments, if developmentally appropriate, the nurse could leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished.
- Physical separation will be achieved by utilizing:
- Individual exam rooms
- Polycarbonate barriers
- Retractable dividing curtain walls.
To protect themselves and others and stop the spread of COVID-19 in the household and community, the district shall notify through either group or individual level communications whenever an individual:
- Was within close and proximate contact (ie: 6 feet when not wearing a mask) of an infected individual (i.e., in the same classroom) for longer than a total of 15 minutes in a given day or period.
New York State has provided schools with over 20 million tests to support this strategy. Whenever someone in school – student, staff or teacher – is determined to have been exposed or potentially exposed, it is recommended that the individual should be tested for COVID-19 as follows:
- Consider testing immediately upon learning of the exposure or potential exposure,
- At least 5 days after the last date of exposure or potential exposure, regardless of vaccination status,
- If the individual is not fully vaccinated and attending or working at school after an exposure or potential exposure, frequent testing (e.g., daily, every other day, at least twice within 5 days) from the date of the exposure or potential exposure (Day 0) through at least day 5 should be strongly considered and encouraged,
- Exclude from school if a test is positive and/or exclude from school and test as soon as possible if symptoms develop.
- Individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 within the past 3 months do not need to get tested unless they develop symptoms.
- Symptomatic individuals, regardless of vaccination status or recent infection, should stay home until tested and if positive or not tested, should isolate for 5 days, or until other criteria are met for school attendance (e.g., resolution of fever), whichever is longer.
Exposed school staff and students and/or their parents/guardians are primarily responsible for ensuring that recommended testing occurs. The District will supply testing kits to affected families for testing at home and/or provide access to existing testing programs at our District Office (Or until such time that the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health can no longer support this program).
In the setting of COVID-19 outbreaks with ongoing transmission, the District will take a more active role to ensure that the recommended testing occurs. The District will remain current in our reporting of all COVID-19 test results that we conduct or that we become aware of, including results of home testing, to the New York State COVID-19 Report Card. Exposed individuals, regardless of vaccination status, may remain in school by appropriately wearing a well-fitting mask and undergoing recommended testing and may participate in school-based extracurricular activities. These individuals also may continue to ride the school bus (See masking rules above).
Weekly Staff Testing
Weekly testing of staff who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 will continue except for the following Exemptions:
- For recently recovered persons School staff/teachers who were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 within the past 3 months are not subject to the weekly testing requirement established in 10 NYCRR 2.62, which remains in effect.
- Asymptomatic individuals exposed to COVID-19 who have been previously diagnosed with laboratory confirmed COVID-19, and have since recovered, are not required to retest and quarantine within 3 months after the date of symptom onset from the initial COVID-19 infection or date of first positive diagnostic test if asymptomatic during illness.
Use of Over-the-Counter Tests
There are numerous COVID-19 antigen tests that have received United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), including over-the-counter (OTC) tests authorized for home or self-testing. The NYS DOH allows the use of such OTC tests for school purposes unless it is otherwise determined by our Local Health Department (LHD). If OTC tests are used, all test takers must follow the instructions found on the package inserts for serial testing (if applicable). Many brands of OTC tests include two tests, both of which should be used as instructed by the manufacturer for asymptomatic individuals.
When the District becomes aware of failure to comply with recommended testing, then individuals who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccination should stay home for 5 days after exposure. Individuals who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccination should be encouraged to complete the recommended testing but are not required to be excluded from school as long as they wear a mask as recommended. Some individuals may be medically unable to wear a mask. The District will decide on a case-by-case basis whether these individuals should be excluded from school or allowed to remain in school if exposed or potentially exposed. Examples of factors to consider include:
- The level of risk of the exposure (e.g., ongoing household exposure imposes a higher risk than exposure within six feet of distance or classroom exposure),
- The feasibility of conducting frequent testing (e.g., at least every other day) during the 5 days after exposure,
- Whether there are individuals in the classroom who are known to be at high risk for severe disease,
Please find updated school mask guidance and an FAQ document regarding the public health changes that took effectWednesday, March 2, 2022, at: